DETROIT -- Perhaps we'll never know for sure if Jose Valverde was just playing the role of clubhouse clown, raising eyebrows for the sheer fun of it, or if he meant every word of his ALDS guarantee.

But Joe Girardi wanted no part of the discussion on Valverde, who playfully (depending on which version of events you believe) declared the five-game series "over already" after the Tigers tied it with a 5-3 victory in Game 2.

"The Yankees have a great team, but I think that's it for them," the Detroit closer said Sunday after throwing 34 pitches in the ninth inning and allowing two runs to barely preserve a four-run lead.

Valverde earned a save Monday night in Game 3, striking out Derek Jeter to end a 5-4 Detroit win after walking Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner.

Girardi refused to take the bait Monday when asked for a response because he didn't know the context of Valverde's comments. Although he said the remarks had the potential to "excite" a few of his players, he added, "You can't let your emotions take you out of your game."

Detroit manager Jim Leyland took the opposite approach, tackling Valverde's comments head on and disputing the "guarantee" premise.

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"I don't think I saw anything about guarantee. That's number one," Leyland said. "I think when you read all the stories about it, he admitted it was tongue in cheek when he said it.

"Second of all, I didn't take offense to the video at Yankee Stadium when they were talking about the World Series, like we were the junior varsity and they were getting ready for the World Series.

"I didn't take offense to that at all. In fact, I thought it was great . . . I would hate to think the New York Yankees or the Detroit Tigers need any bulletin-board stuff to get fired up this time of year."

Tigers catcher Alex Avila said he saw nothing wrong with Valverde's words.

"He's got a very outspoken personality; he likes to joke around and stuff," Avila said. "But I'll be honest with you . . . to have that type of confidence, that type of mentality, that's what you want. "

Another manager might have posted Valverde's comments in his clubhouse for all his players to see. But that's just not Girardi's style. And he doesn't believe in dishing it out, either.

"It's never been my personality to give anyone bulletin- board material," he said.

"People might say I'm too plain. But I always think about games that you're managing -- you don't ever want to wake a team up. I do think that sometimes; what the score is and do you keep running or things that you're doing in the course of a game. I think you have to think about those things."